Second Samuel 21 ends with the recounting of the death of the four “giants of Gath” (II Samuel 21:22b, NLT). Chapter 22 is one of David’s psalms of praise, and it’s very like the one recorded in Psalm 18; hope you’ll take the time to read both.
“David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul” (II Samuel 22:1).
“He sang: ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence’” (II Samuel 22:2-3).
Now look at its parallel in Psalm 18: “I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies” (verses 1-3).
Most Bible scholars believe Psalm 18 was written when David was still a young man, likely when he first became king after Saul’s death. What we see in Second Samuel 22 is an older and wiser David re-voicing this psalm as he looks back over the years and sees in even more vivid color the countless times his Faithful Master has protected him and stayed with him even when he was headed in the wrong direction.
At this point in David’s life, he knew God as the one who had delivered him from Goliath, Saul, Absalom, countless other enemies, and even his own sins. Look at how David identifies the Lord in Second Samuel 22:2: “My rock, my fortress, and my savior.”
First and foremost, we see that David knew God as a personal God. Yes, “God so loved the world,” (Jesus speaking, John 3:16a, KJV), but not in one big clump. He loves us individually. He knows us by name! He wasn’t A God or THE God. David said He was “My” God. Grandma’s faith can’t be your faith. Mama’s faith can’t be your faith. Is Jesus Christ YOUR God?
David starts with a stream of descriptions of just what kind of a god his God is: “My rock.” You’ve heard the song, “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” David knew this as absolute truth. Every time he’d stepped away from that solid foundation, he’d found himself mired in trouble. And so do we. We may have a multitude of problems in this life, but as long as our feet are firmly planted on the Rock of Ages, we won’t be overwhelmed by our difficulties.
David then calls God “my fortress.” This is so huge, y’all. What is a fortress? A fortified place of protection and safety. David had learned that, no matter how great the problem, the only safe place to be was in the “fortress” of the Lord.
Proverbs 18:10 declares: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (NIV). How do the “righteous” get to this “tower,” this “fortress?” They “run.” Folks, if you aren’t in top spiritual condition through daily prayer, Bible study and conversation – not monologue – with God, you aren’t able to “run.” You can barely walk!
And forget running the race as First Corinthians 9, Hebrews 12, Galatians 2, Galatians 5, Philippians 2 and Philippians 3 talks about. People of God, we can eat healthily, exercise regularly and keep our bodies in great physical condition; but until our spiritual condition becomes the greater concern, our priorities are sadly out of order. How’s your spiritual health these days?
“We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up” (Hebrews 12:1b, God’s Word).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates